Marketing involves many repetitive tasks that can be exhausting at times. Automating redundant marketing processes can save you time and energy, making room for more creativity and helping you give your clients a more customised experience.
Using marketing automation software does not mean that you’re lazy. It is a justified tool that will increase your revenue, improve customer satisfaction, and give you more time to nurture leads. Marketing automation is used by 75% of businesses, demonstrating that if you want to have a competitive advantage, you must invest in it.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation tools ease your daily workload by assisting with a spectrum of tasks. These tasks include identifying new customers, increasing the effectiveness of your sales funnel, understanding newly generated leads, building meaningful relationships with those leads, and customising their experience.
The idea of automation can be daunting – the fear of these tools replacing humans is often the first thought that comes to mind. However, marketing automation is not about setting all your efforts on auto-pilot, and it’s not a matter of human vs. machine. Instead, it’s about helping you focus more attention on what matters most – your customers, and providing the best experience for them.
The Importance of Marketing Automation
Let’s consider in more detail how marketing automation platforms help with your marketing efforts.
The biggest struggle for small businesses (as per Keap’s 2020 Customer Survey) was finding the time and resources for marketing. Rather than choosing t0 to automate the process, 22.9% of respondents said they collect contact information manually over the phone or in person. This wastes so much time that could be better spent on other tasks.
Not only does marketing automation save time and money, but overall, it generates more revenue. After implementing automation software, several small businesses have reported an 800 percent sales increase, $100k in incremental revenue, and even reaching revenue goals exceeding $1 million per year.
With clerical work aside, you can focus on creating a personalised experience for your clients. Companies that used sales automation early on routinely report a 10% increase in sales potential.
Data-driven personalisation allows you to nurture your leads and focus on creating a successful conversion strategy. You will have a greater number of quality leads whose experience you can tailor in a way that is supported by data and, as a result, you will land more paying customers.
Marketing Automation Platforms
Below is a list of platforms that you can use to enhance your processes. Remember that automation does not mean that you will not have to worry about a thing, nor is it a magical tool that will bring you customers with zero effort on your part. It provides a helping hand, but no platform can replace your role in the growth of your business.
Preface – All the platforms mentioned in the article are based on my personal experience, industry reputation and G2 reviews.
Pricing: Various, Has Free Modules
HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform and allows a single person to perform the tasks of a whole team. Rather than juggling with various software programs, they aim to be a one stop shop for all your automation needs.
HubSpot promises to save you time and bring you the right customers without you having to go through the hassle of guessing what they may or may not like. Thanks to the data they provide, you can create tailor made content for your audience. Their promise is to make your life simpler, which they express as follows: “Whether it’s strategies, services, or software — HubSpot allows you to scale your company, not complexity”.
While pricing starts at $0, it can cost as much as $10,000 per month (there are hidden costs even if you have the free version, which can be a bit misleading). Generally though, this is a relatively cost-effective and quite powerful solution, especially for B2B businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Pricing: Starts at $400/Month
Salesforce is rated by many as the best CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and is the top rated CRM tool on G2. It helps you actively track and manage customer information, enables connectivity within your team, manages customer emails, delivers insights, and gives recommendations. Their journey builder function is one to look out for, as it helps you reach your customer’s preferred channel, hassle-free.
Salesforce has a lot of features that will make your life much easier, including their drag and drop functionality. You can even use this tool to track your customer’s behaviour. However, the platform is meant for large organisations which means there is limited support for small-scale use; according to some users, you need to pay extra for a representative to help with certain issues. In addition, its ready to use templates are a bit limiting and the user interface is not very intuitive, so it can get confusing when handling complex processes. The main complaints are Salesforce are the cost, as it is top of the range, and the need to for extensive customisation which makes it hugely powerful but also very expensive and time consuming to setup and manage.
Otherwise, there isn’t much to dislike about Salesforce – their powerful yet easy-to-use CRM platform is a great tool for all marketers.
3. Marketo (Adobe)
Marketo by Adobe helps “companies bring together the customer data, content, automation, and analytics needed for marketing and sale”. It helps marketers create a personalised customer experience rather than boring them with predefined cold calls. It is ideal for creating highly engaging content that you can share with your audience.
There is a lot that you use this tool for, including marketing automation, email marketing, social media, web personalisation, market analysis, mobile marketing, as well as some more complex tools. It can also provide material via personalised touchpoints enabled by Adobe’s technology.
However, getting used to the program for working on complex tasks could be a little difficult. Users have also complained about a lack of speed, poor landing page design, and a limiting form builder. Also, it does not have an in built Customer Relationship Management system – at this price point, you would expect Adobe provide all the necessary tools within one platform.
4. Eloqua (Oracle)
Pricing: Starts at $2,000/month
Oracle’s Eloqua is a versatile marketing automation tool that allows you to efficiently manage cross channel B2B campaigns. They offer a wide variety of functions including marketing measurement, sales and marketing alignment, and their AI cloud service helps in retrieving insightful data. They help you win audiences “with personalized campaigns across multiple channels”.
One review enthusiastically defined it as “HOT CAKE IN MARKETING PERSONALLY RECOMMENDED TO OTHERS”. I believe they should add this review to their website.
Eloqua is a great tool for people with no budgetary restrictions. With that said, the platform could improve in terms of end to end functionality, user experience, and accessibility. You will need training to use it if you’re not technically proficient but if you have the budget and the time to invest in this platform, it will surely pay off in the long run.
Pricing: Starts at $0
Zoho are best known for their social media management tools, but they offer a range of web based services that enrich your marketing experience with ease. For example, you can set up email marketing campaigns in less than 60 minutes, including the step of domain name verification.
However, the platform can be limiting and a little text heavy. They do not provide an option to upload on TikTok or IG Reels and their UI design could be better, as users complain about not being able to find many important features. On the other hand, many of its features are free, so you can always just give it a shot. It does have a lot of other related tools in the Zoho family that can make the ecosystem very effective.
6. Constant Contact
This platform is specifically designed for small businesses, who can use their powerful tools to simplify and amplify their digital marketing efforts. With Constant Contact, you can expand your audience, strengthen consumer interactions, send professional emails, and streamline your social media efforts. You can also integrate it with other software you may already be using.
It’s a great tool for beginners and the sign up is quick and easy. They include step-by-step guides and pre-built templates that will quickly get you off your feet, and their analytics tool will help you to tweak your strategies.
Its main drawback is that it’s designed for beginners and reportedly has poor customer service. However, if you’re part of a small business and you’re a beginner to marketing automation, this platform is definitely worth a shot.
7. Active Campaign
Many of the platforms I mentioned up until this point were rather complex. Let me introduce you to Active Campaign, a comparatively simpler, but just as powerful marketing automation tool that gets the job done.
Although there is still a learning curve to it, this platform performs pretty well. With Active Campaign, you can track buyer preferences, behaviour, and numerous custom factors throughout the customer lifecycle, and messages can be customised based on consumer data, ensuring that your communications are always directed towards the correct target audience.
Users say that the platform should be well integrated with other software to provide a more cohesive experience. Also, it’s not the most intuitive platform, so you might struggle with executing more complex strategies.
I hope this guide encouraged you to explore marketing automation. Too much work can lead to burnout, but the platforms I mentioned allow us to more efficiently use our time and make life much easier. Every platform takes some getting used to, but the time you need to spend learning is nothing compared to the time you’ll save in the long run.
The key to success in marketing (and any other field) is being open to learning new things. However, if you do not have enough time to spend on your marketing and you need assistance with your processes, I would be happy to help. Book a free consultation with me, here.